Blackeberry’s announced a partnership with LG, whereby LG will ship devices in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East with BBM preloaded. At first glance it looks like yet another desperate move by company that hasn’t taken definitive action in years. But is it really? You’re going to be surprised by just how much sense this all makes.
First, the problem: the iPhone disrupted the smartphone market and everyone moved towards slab, all touch devices with incredibly sophisticated operating systems and applications. Slowly, but surely, Blackberry’s mainstream market crumbled.
Teens got their hands on Blackberrys next. The Curve lines’ affordability and great keyboard made it great for the hardcore texters of our generation and everyone snapped them up. But this market was slowly eaten up by cheap iPhones, Androids, and Lumias too.
Blackberry’s last hope is the emerging market, and that too is moving away from the antiquated platform. BB10 devices are still too expensive, and those that can afford a Z10 are going for iPhones and Samsungs instead. So how does loading BBM on LG phones fit into this tale of sadness and despair?
Blackberry knows that, at least for the time being, its hardware division is dead – and every time someone throws their 8720 away and buys an Android phone they’re losing a customer. Only as LG devices gain traction in emerging markets, Blackberry don’t really lose a customer. That person doesn’t have to ditch all his or her BBM contacts, they’re on their brand new LG android phone. One can keep texting with peace of mind and keep using the service they’ve already invested so much time in – and everyone’s doing it.
This is a brave, smart move that should slow Blackberry’s decline and given them some breathing room. The company’s still treading water though, and it’s only a matter of time before it sinks or swims.